Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers: systolic blood pressure (the first number, on top) and diastolic blood pressure (the second number, on bottom). The number indicates the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries when beating or at rest.

Your blood pressure varies over the course of the day. A diagnosis of hypertension is made by a clinician based on multiple blood pressure readings over time. If your blood pressure results are mildly elevated or elevated, a clinician may discuss with you next steps for evaluation. We encourage you to share your result with your own primary care provider, who can consider your individual factors when evaluating your blood pressure and recommending the appropriate next steps.

If your blood pressure is consistently too high, your heart and blood vessels work less efficiently. Over time, high blood pressure can damage the tissues inside the arteries which can make way for LDL (bad) cholesterol to form plaque. This can ultimately lead to other conditions ranging from arrhythmia to heart attack, and stroke.

Heart-healthy habits include following a balanced diet and getting regular exercise. For people with high blood pressure, doctors are likely to prescribe lifestyle changes and may consider adding blood pressure medication based on the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), such as heart attack or stroke.

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